You ever feel like you're doing something just a little bit silly?

I mean, let's be honest. This probably isn't your first time hearing about Splatoon 2. I'm probably not illuminating some mystery of the ages here. The game's selling gangbusters, is one of the big tentpoles for the summer and for Nintendo's multiplayer plans, and had two multiplayer demo runs.

But, okay. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that this is your first time hearing about it, or at least paying close attention to it. So what's the pitch? Splatoon 2 is a third-person shooter, with a two-pronged gimmick to its core gameplay; the first part is that you're not firing bullets or lasers, but paint, with the basic matches determining victor through superior paint coverage, not better killstreaks. The second is that you're a squid creature that can swim through this ink at high speeds.

Aside from both of these working together to result in a game that captures the spirited fun of online shootyman games while still being reasonably family-friendly this also does a lot to change the gameplay. Your gunfire has a certain degree of physics to it, an arc and a spray that plays into the needs of the game. Maps are small, intimate affairs for 4v4 matches, and weapons come in varieties completely unlike those of most games; while things like the Splattershot, Splat Charger and Splatling all have obvious counterparts, something like the Roller, the Brush or the Slosher are experiences you won't get anywhere else.

So your core gameplay loop is different from other shooters, but really good. There's even room for you if you're not great at aiming; because ink coverage is so important, even just very rough and simple directions can get you a long way. But that only tells you about that real central core.

Let's talk content. Splatoon 2 is, naturally, a game focused on multiplayer. Specifically on online multiplayer, though it also has local options...But, and I need to make this clear, no split-screen. There is nothing you can do in this game with you, a friend, and a single Switch. (Except some Pacific Rim style shared control, but that's not exactly an intended game mode) All the local multiplayer is 3DS style; everyone needs to have their own console and copy of the game.

But while that's a shame, it also means the gameplay can be very tight, and the graphics really solid. They're not necessarily pushing huge amounts of obvious polygons, but the style is slick, and all those paint effects aren't exactly easy. The game doesn't look massively better than the first one at just a glance...But it looks that good on a system so much smaller and lighter and, I must remind you, portable, that it's kind of bonkers.

So let's actually tackle the simplest thing first, the single player content. Like, true single player, no internet connection, no friends nearby, you could play this on an airplane. For that, you're looking at just the campaign. Which is a bit small, but fun; the campaign is built around different challenges, separated off into levels as you do. Each level is built somewhat like an obstacle course around a central theme or gimmick, forcing you to learn how to use one of your various different weapon types, tackle different weird challenges, and come out on top. You're not going to get a hundred hours out of this or anything, but it's a well put together set of levels that give you a safe place to come to grips with the game itself.

The multiplayer...Man, where to even start. I guess, with the most basic. Right out the gate, you have access to one central PvP multiplayer mode, Turf War. That's the stuff I talked about above; you go into a stage, you want to have more ink on the floor than your opponent, just a straight-up clash. It's like your Team Deathmatch of most shooters, except if you just go focusing on splatting the other guys you'll prrrrrobably lose. Badly.

Do that for a while, and when you hit level 10, you unlock Ranked play. Here, the stages are the same, but the modes are different. You'll have things like Splat Zones(a king-of-the-hill type where you're vying for control over a central point), or Rainmaker(get the incredibly powerful, shiny, glowing Rainmaker weapon and try to carry it all the way to the enemy team's base), all of which require more actual coordination. Even in a solo queue, you're going to want to be hitting your This Ways and your Booyahs on a regular basis.

Get up to B- rank in Ranked, and that's when you unlock League play. Which, from what I've seen(not having gotten there yet) doesn't contain any exclusive modes, but is where the hardest of the hardcore are going to go. The serious competitive play, where you're going to be expected to have people to go in with, to play for real.

But oh man. The thing is, while all that's great, the mode I couldn't get enough of during my time with it, was Salmon Run. Salmon Run is a PvE, co-op multiplayer mode. It's your classic horde mode scenario, carved down into bite size. (like salmon sushi!) Three waves, each around one to two minutes long, and each one giving you a different weapon. With the weapon loadouts pre-determined when you go in, you're frantically shifting from role to role; one round you might be using the Roller to squash the little salmon, while the next you're using the Splat Charger to pinpoint on enemy bosses.

Which you need to do, because the mode's central mechanic is killing bosses, stealing the golden Power Eggs they drop, and hauling them back to an egg basket. It's not enough to just fight as a crew to stay alive, you have to keep a solid line back to the basket, darting out to get eggs and warring your way back to deliver them safely for your boss, who is probably a bear.

The only problem with Salmon Run, really...well, two problems, but they're both expressions of the same core belief Nintendo seems to have. Namely, that it's a small side-venture, not the "real" game, which would of course be the PvP content. So the first is that while you can get rewards, including currency, you get no main XP and no direct payday for doing well in the mode. Which hinders the game's central progression if you just focus on Salmon Run.

The second problem is that, to keep queues solid for the main games, they've chosen to make Salmon Run only available for so long, every other day or so. The rest of the time, the office is closed, and the game just won't let you in. And while you can do a private game, that's only in the local multiplayer, not online.

This is...A mistake, I think. And from what I've seen, a lot of other folks agree. For all that Salmon Run is currently a small side experience in Nintendo's eyes, it refines that horde-mode gameplay down to a rich syrup that's so much more pure and frantic and delightful than some of the longer modes out there.

But of course, the beauty of a game like this is that it's alive. The Salmon Run mode isn't hard-coded to only be open so often, it's just what the network says. And while it only has two maps we've seen so far, that's not a hard limit either. With at least a year planned of active support of new weapons, gear, and stages, there's more than enough room for them to expand on it, if and when the data shows it's taking far more interest than anticipated, they can shift gears.

...I guess before we go, I've got to talk about the app. So if you don't know, to voice chat and such, you have to use an app on your smartphone. On the face of it, this isn't the worst decision ever; any internal mic or jack would create problems in one of the gameplay modes of the Switch itself, and bluetooth mics literally never get used.

The problem is that the app right now is...rrrrough, let's say. Weird battery drain problems, turning the screen off sometimes kills the chat, and just a general clunkiness. It honestly feels odd, given Nintendo's made several mobile games and even Miitomo. This is not their first ever mobile app, so why the freshman mistakes?

But that, too, is something they can fix. And I hope they do, because the app would add a lot to your experience. As it is right now, there is a certain...unpleasant clunkiness to teaming up with a friend to get into the game.

Which is a shame, because that is some of the most fun you can have here. And this is a fantastic game, make no question. For all that the online-services app really needs some work, I just can't hold that up that much against a game this good. I'm not going to say this is "the reason to get a Switch", but that's because on the actual games, Nintendo's been kicking out another top-notch title basically every month. The reasons to buy one are well there.

That said, this is definitely one of them. Go get Splatoon 2 if you are even slightly compatible with online multiplayer and third-person shooters. Seriously, do it right now. I'm waiting.